When working with a partner or in a group, or even with an outside eye for direction there isn't the problem of self-motivation that I get when working solo. To try and get over this I like to make a plan of action, then even if I don't stick to it at least I have a path I can follow. I am still finding it hard to let go of material, but I have found the joy in going along with new themes that are found during collaboration or when directing others and finding different paths to an end goal.
This is an example of the structure I have been using (generally speaking, not set in stone!) to choreograph parts of my piece starting with raw movement as opposed to a clear character.
First, Julia and I discussed what I was looking for in this section of the piece. I wanted to be manipulated by Julia, so we thought about the ways this can happen through contact, manipulation and movement.
Initially we improvised around the theme...
As there was no outside eye, we filmed the improvisation and highlighted any parts that worked particularly well in terms of satisfying movement visually and parts that fitted with the theme of manipulation and control.
1. From the movement found in this improvisation we set a sequence,
then spent a little time editing and refining (but not too much that we would get attached to it!) before adding layers.
2. Add Julia saying 'smile then' (aim; heighten the control she has over me in a different way than just movement to add colour)
3. Incl. Julia's insides are on fire, lava ready to explode (aim; increase the urgency)
4. Incl. Katie shiver/icy every time Julia touches (aim; add repulsion and a sense of being forced)
5. More suspense and echo that in Julia's voice (aim; play on the fact it's starting to get creepy)
Each time we would watch the film back, discuss what we saw, see the positive and negatives and decide which part to push further and which parts to remove. I personally find this easier to do 1 element at a time and have a layer approach rather than do too many things at once as I think things can get lost. However when being directed I often have to go faster than I usually would and some very interesting material does emerge.
We were self-directing through collaboration to reach an end point of me being manipulated. We went down different route to what I was planning and pushed the physicality of us both as different characters more and only touched on our relationship. Exploring the relationship between Julia and myself was initially my main aim, and still something that needs to be explored and added.
From here I will go on to further editing as a lot of material doesn't progress the story or add to the characterisation. I would like to make it have more condensed nervous energy from me, waiting to explode to play on the control Julia has over me.
Repeat same as above as many times as needed.
I have never used multimedia in my performance work before, I have always felt like I wasn't confident enough to use it well and I felt I would need a big team around me to make my visions come to life. So I came into the multi-media weekend thinking it was something that would be fun to try but that I would probably never use it...how wrong I was!
After the first day we were asked to bring in images, text or sound to play with. I decided to use the below images as visual inspiration, to tie in with my theme of becoming slave to the digital age. I also bought in the sound of texting, with the typing and sending sound which is so easily recognizable to the majority of people.
Using the lights, I initially wanted to achieve the effect of a phone light shining up onto someones face. Please see images below. I found this fairly easy to convey so I started experimenting with having this visual projected onto another surface, so that the audience can see both reality and projection. The sound of the texting added to this effect, and by experimenting with putting the sound through the system and also just placing the phone close to the microphone, I enjoyed finding out how I can make the most of having control over the effects and therefore not relying on a tech team.
I also enjoyed experimenting with moving the light towards and away from the camera. I loved the effect of the light flashing on and off as it came too close to the camera, the color changes and the slow fade as the camera adjusted to more or less light. I saw a theme of circles emerging, and so decided to use the 'word' LOL and use my mouth to echo the circular shape I was seeing in the projections. Please see videos below marking some of my process...
LOL (projection and use of LOL)
Laughter 1 (start of increase, show lighting)
Laughter 2 (show 2nd stage of increase, camera angle)
After this stage, I started looking at moving the light towards the lens and therefore into the audiences eye, and so forcing them to look at the projection instead of me.
Laughter 3 (show 3rd stage of increase, projection)
This shows the projection, I just used a table covered with a white cloth. It works better to have the projection onto white as it reflects the light away as opposed to black which soaks all the light in so doesn't show as clearly. You can see how the light has spilled onto my face and onto the projection, so the effect of looking at a screen isn't as strong as in 'real life.'
I got a little stuck at this point as my work was so static. But as soon as I realized I could move every thing I was using, from the microphone to the camera to the projector I was away!!
By experimenting with having the camera from the side, the audience see a different angle in 'real life' and in projection which I really like as it gives the performance a feeling of being in the round but it is much more manageable than actually having the audience in the round because I can control when it happens, how long it happens for and exactly what the audience see. I also like the fact you can zoom in and choose specific things for the audience to see, that is a privileged only film makers get but now I have realized I can get that in live performance too!
The multimedia weekend really changed the creative path I am taking. Before the weekend I could see a very clear 'world' that I was going to set my group piece in. A world where everyone had to be happy and where this was very quickly established through cheesy music, 'happy' dancing and big smiles. However, I had also been experimenting with the noise of texts and images of emoji's but didn't know how to incorporate this into my work. It felt almost like 2 separate ideas that hadn't quite merged together. But as soon as I started experimenting with the text noise, projection, light and vocals I realized I don't need to be so obvious, I don't need to spoon feed the audience. Instead I can create this world in a much more atmospheric way, and it feels right to be experimenting with using technology in the piece seeing's as it's all about tech!
Inspiration comes from many different places. It can be a tiny seed, a vast idea, a conversation, a character, a trait, a movie, a book, nature... the list is endless!
For my final piece I want to create an exaggerated version of our world. One which is ruled by smart phones and laptops and looking down instead of up. One where how much battery life you have left is more important than how your friends are. One where 4 year old's have iPad's. Sound familiar?
Really, this is a continuation of a theme that emerged during my interim assessment. I found the idea of being manipulated in a world that you didn't understand or want to be in compelling to explore, so I have taken this out of the Africa context and bought it closer to home, and in doing so I can hopefully make it more relate-able.
Here are just a few places I found inspiration for the initial idea, movement qualities, how to progress the story and character development...
By this stage, I have a clear conceptual idea for my final group piece. Most of the parts will be choreographed collaboratively, however I know there will be at least 2 solo sections so I have begun working on them. Here is my process...
Create movement inspired by being 'HAPPY'
Add physical state
Choose physical states that lean towards my end goal and expand them
END GOAL = movement piece that shows being forced to be happy
UNCOMFORTABLE - SHOVED - ON TUBE - DEHYDRATED
Expand on the restricted quality...
Expand on my hair covering my face...
Add an intention
e.g. to not laugh, to be still, to be seen, to be bold, to be hidden, to patronise.
Explore one contrasting to movement and one matching